We had the privilege of being part of a fab planning team for the latest Foundation BigService, with the theme 'Frozen'. As always arranging a big alt worship service was time consuming, hard work that left us feeling a bit frayed around the edges; however, the experience of being amongst such a warm (how ironic!) group of people on the night who were so engaged and positive about what we had prepared made it all worthwhile. Highlights for me were: building an enormous pile of ice cubes, lit from below; listening to six separate voices coming from speakers around the space, all talking about their own experiences of being 'frozen' with respect to God, to other people and to the problems of the world; watching peoples' faces as they listened to a story, wonderfully told by Richard Trouncer, and originally written by Hans Christian Anderson - there are some things you never grow out of; reading a meditation that I'd written with very careful timing to a song by Damien Rice, 'Cold Water', and realising that, yes, I was going to get the timing right!; singing along to a Nina Simone track, rearranged (with a hint of Hi-Energy disco!) by Jez Nash, and with new words - boy we had fun!; and being part of the party atmosphere at the end, as we read and swapped pledges to do something, change something, become something more like Christ.
But most of all I enjoyed this service because it was the first one that my eldest daughter, Jordan, came to. Actually that's not true: she was a regular attender of alt worship, back in the days when we had energy and used to do this sort of thing once a month. As a baby she would be dragged along every time, and even the thanksgiving after her birth was as part of an alt worship service. Then we decided that we needed to institute a regular bedtime, so that was that...
But now she's 12 so along she came, with a friend, having recorded one of the 6 voices at the start so that she instantly felt part of things. She loved it: playing with ice, playing with fire, sitting on the floor, watching DVDs (not so keen on the footage of Anthony Gormley's Crosby Beach installation, but she loved Ice Age at the end!) and - the best bit of all - ice lollies produced 'as if by magic' from underneath the whopping great pile of ice cubes at the end of the service! What's not to love?
I really appreciated the chance to show Jordan what it is we are doing, all those times we've closeted ourselves away for planning meetings, to write, to record and to photograph. To explain why she gets dragged to odd shops to buy even odder things. And to give her chance to see that there is more than one way of doing 'church', and that it takes all kinds of people to make up God's Kingdom.